Last week I started watching The Great British Baking Challenge on Netflix and I am low key obsessed with it. Whenever I need something on in the background my go to is usually Friends or New Girl reruns. You can also never watch too much Food Network and that usually gives me tons of inspiration for trying out new recipes but The Great British Baking Challenge is probably the best food challenge series I’ve seen.
First of all, I am just intrigued by the British culture. A lot of the recipes they are asked to make are traditional British foods or European foods. It’s not just your boring cupcakes. I also love their accents and how they talk. For example, they call cake, “sponge”. They’re also so helpful and encouraging to each other rather than on the American food challenges where they are so competitive and cut throat.
Being in the kitchen cooking and experimenting with new recipes and ingredients is like a form of therapy to me. I would consider myself a pretty creative person and I need to do creative things in the evenings or on the weekends. Turning on Netflix or a good podcast and just going crazy in the kitchen allows my mind to decompress and I love styling the presentation of the meal at the end. Even better is when it tastes delicious.
Baking is a little more stressful to me than cooking is. With cooking you can just eyeball things and taste as you go to see if you need to add more of an ingredient. Baking requires you to be a little more precise. I have to be in the right mood to bake something. Fall and winter weather usually put me in the mood to bake. Nothing is better than warming up to a melty chocolate chip cookie or a warm slice of banana bread.
Speaking of banana bread, a couple of weeks ago I had some super ripe bananas that I needed to use up. I hadn’t made anything with bananas in a long time which is kind of weird for me. I LOVE banana baked goods. I also LOVE bananas with ice cream. However, I have a lot of people in my family that aren’t the hugest fans of bananas, my husband is one of them. He’s an odd duck.
My creative juices got going and I thought to myself that Nutella would be amazing on top of a slice of banana bread and then I saw I had some hazelnuts in my pantry. Thus, the chocolate hazelnut banana bread was born.
This is a chocolatey and decadent loaf of bread you guys. Since chocolate is involved it has to be delicious right? Well you’re right. It is.
I got my hazelnuts from Trader Joes. They seem to always have great prices on raw nuts and seeds. Another go-to place to find raw nuts and seeds is Natural Grocers in their refrigerated section. It is usually best to store your nuts and seeds in the fridge or freezer so that they last longer and I liked that Natural Grocers does that. Choose whatever chocolate chips you like, but I like dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate that has less sugar content. The bread is sweetened from the bananas so I didn’t think it needed super sweet chocolate.
Toasting your hazelnuts first brings out the nuttiness and gives the bread a much more complex and deeper flavor. You don’t have to toast the hazelnuts but trust me, it tastes better. I also think that using walnuts and walnut butter would be great. Kind of like a brownie with walnuts, but who eats those!? You eat brownies for the fudgy chocolatiness, not for the walnuts. But you do you boo!
Chocolate Hazelnut Banana Bread
A simple, Paleo friendly, chocolately, nutty take on banana bread.
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts
- 4 ripe bananas mashed
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup smooth almond butter
- 1/2 cup coconut oil melted
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Be sure to watch so they don't burn. Grease a loaf pan and line it with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the mashed banana, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, eggs and almond butter.
Mix in the coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined.
Chop up the hazelnuts and add about two thirds to the batter. Add the chocolate chips and fold into the batter.
Pour into the greased loaf pan and top with the remaining hazelnuts and a few chocolate chips.
Place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing from the pan.